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Friday, April 26, 2013

Priest Of Evil DVD Review

Priest Of Evil tells the story of a detective who is struggling after the death of one of his daughters, and is now working on a murder case which is coming a bit too close to home. The film opens with detective Timo Harjunpaa (Peter Franzen) entering an incredibly filthy home that is occupied by a corpse and the corpse’s son, Jari, who has a shot gun and is upset to be told that his mother is dead. He freaks out, attempting to jump from the roof. But Timo is able to calm him down. This scene basically establishes Timo’s character as a compassionate and competent police officer.

He then goes to pick up his daughter outside a club, but is late, and in the meantime she has been chased down and murdered by a man on a motorcycle. The film then jumps to two years later, when Timo’s work is suffering and his wife (Irina Bjorklund) is depressed (and she seems to blame him for their daughter’s death). His other daughter, Paulina (Rosa Salomaa), has dyed her hair red (seemingly as a way to separate herself from her dead sister – I love details like this). Timo is lost in flashbacks of what their life was before, and in the present he sees motorcycles everywhere. He tells his partner, Onerva Nykanen (Jenni Banerjee), that he’s stopped seeing his shrink. He tells her, “Things tend to sort themselves out.”

Timo gets called in on a new case, a murder on a subway platform. He does some investigating on his own, and chases a suspicious person along the tracks (and miraculously gets cell phone reception in the tunnel). The suspect gets away, which is a little unbelievable after Timo has kicked the crap out of him. The suspect also steals Timo’s wallet, and so has his address and other information.

We then see this suspect taking photographs of Timo and his family (and even his daughter’s boyfriend, who enjoys cutting himself).  Meanwhile, the man who killed Timo’s other daughter is being released from prison, and Timo is determined to kill him.

This movie’s strengths seem to lie in the plot about Timo’s family, and the way Timo deals with the killer being released (though there isn’t a satisfying conclusion to that aspect). The film has a kind of tense feel, like you are really in Timo’s mind, dealing with what he has to deal with. His is a good performance. And the stuff with his family is really good. I love when his daughter begs him to stay.

However, the film has a strange pace, and some flaws. The killer of the man in the subway turns out to be a serial killer, and he targets a very specific type of person. Timo does not fit the profile of his victims at all, so it doesn’t feel right that he should suddenly be a target of the killer. Why is the killer so interested in Timo and his family? And why now, two years after their daughter was killed? The film sets up a pattern and then breaks it, which is aggravating.

Still, there are some really great moments in this film. And I did enjoy most of the scenes that deal with the disintegration of Timo’s family.

Priest Of Evil is in Finnish film with English subtitles. The DVD includes the film’s trailer, and is scheduled to be released on May 28, 2013 by Shout! Factory.

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